July 17 2010 12:00 AM

Unions spend on Virg


This story was corrected July 17.

Sunday is the close of books for the primary reporting period and Virg Bernero’s union endorsers have been picking up any slack.

The Genesee County Democratic Committee released a television ad last week favoring Bernero over opponent Andy Dillon. The committee’s chairman, Jack Minore, assumed various union groups paid for the ad, the Detroit Free Press reported. The $500,000 ad portrays Dillon as a job-deflator and Bernero as a job-creator. But because the television spot does not outright endorse either candidate, those funding it do not have to disclose themselves, nor is there a limit to how much they can spend, according to state law.

Some predict labor groups will chip in another $2 million before the Aug. 3 vote.

With all of these endorsers’ funding coming through, the Bernero camp is taking a more moderate approach to campaigning by canvassing the Southeast Michigan region this weekend. On Saturday, planned stops include Ann Arbor and Pontiac while Sunday includes Flint and Berkley. The “Walk for Choice” troupe in Ann Arbor will push hard on the fact that Bernero is the only pro-choice candidate in the gubernatorial election.

Bernero continues to pick up endorsements, and this week’s came from some of his colleagues. On Wednesday a group of 35 mayors, ranging from Sault Sainte Marie down to Ypsilanti, endorsed Bernero, along with former gubernatorial opponent Alma Wheeler-Smith. AnnArbor.com reported Wednesday that Bernero has Wheeler-Smith on his “short list” for potential lieutenant governor.

Last week Bernero pushed the Lansing City Council to pledge tax breaks for a possible General Motors Co. expansion in Lansing, a move used on the campaign trail showing his commitment to bringing jobs back to the state. The GM expansion is expected to create 600 new jobs and bring $190 million in new investments to the area.

Bernero also appeared on MSNBC last week, calling on Michigan legislators to pull roughly $1 billion out of JP Morgan Chase and injecting it into state banks in hopes of more reliable financing for new businesses.